President of Parliament drs. Gracita Arrindell has established a protocol of understanding with the Legal and Legislation Department on how Parliament will handle the process of 65 laws of the former Netherlands Antilles.
Six of those laws are time-sensitive and will have to be presented to parliament before October 11, 2011 since they are also linked to international law.
The 65 pieces of legislation has already been through the formal legal preparatory process of the former Netherlands Antilles, such as the relevant Ministries and the Council of Advice.
President of Parliament Arrindell met on Friday with Head of the Department of Legal and Legislation Affairs Henk Jan Habermehl and legal specialist Nancy Joubert. Also present in the meeting was Parliament’s Secretary General Jossy Semeleer.
Henk Jan Habermehl gave an overview of the state of affairs with the Legal and Legislation Department with respect to human resources and the workload of the department.
"This meeting was long anticipated and is a very important step in setting up the procedures and future contact between the relevant entities in order to ensure a smooth process in handling parliamentary legislation.
"We have established an understanding where the Department of Legal and Legislation Affairs will meet with the Parliamentary Secretariat on a regular basis to exchange information on legislation initiatives.
"Timely and proper coordination is necessary between the Executive and Legislative branches of government where legislation is concerned. Parliament is aware of the human resources challenges being faced by the Legal and Legislation Department, however, the hiring of additional legal specialist is being worked on.
"During parliament’s working visit to Holland recently, Chairman of the Committee Kingdom Affairs and Inter-Parliamentary Relations Member of Parliament (MP) Roy Marlin brought the issue up with our colleagues from the Dutch Parliaments who are willing to assist us in this area. We now need to follow-up.
"The Parliament of St. Maarten is committed to producing quality legislation," President of Parliament Arrindell said on Tuesday.
The President was also informed that the department has drafted a legislative "draaiboek" (operational manual) similar to those of Aruba, Curacao and Holland. It should be ready the end of June and copies will be provided to Parliament, the Governor and the Council of Advice for their input.
"We were also informed about the Legislation Meeting within the Kingdom, which brings together top civil servants from the Kingdom partners to discuss laws, coordination of legislative agenda’s etc.
"As part of one Kingdom, there is legislation that would influence and apply also to the other partners. Coordination under such a scenario would be necessary.
"The Legal and Legislation Department has also worked out the process it would take for legislation to become law. The process would take 52 weeks from A to Z when parliament passed the actual piece.
"The department also plans to draft a multi-year legislation plan which I find is very necessary and will further enhance the efficient and effective functioning of this institution," President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell stated on Monday.